Workforce participation alone won't empower women | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 10, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 10, 2019

Workforce participation alone won't empower women

Address other factors too

According to several national and international reports, women's participation in the workforce has been increasing steadily in the country. According to the ILO, women's participation in Bangladesh's labour force has increased to 36.3 percent in 2017 from 33.2 percent in 2016. While the progress made over the years is commendable, there are several factors such as gender pay gap, lack of safety at workplace, transport, and child care facilities that act as barriers for higher participation of women in the workforce.

According to the “Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2018”, female workforce participation steadily grew between 2010 and 2017 because of the high growth of the garment sector. But according to several reports, women garment workers often become victims of sexual harassment at their workplace and on their way to and from office. Not only that, they also face serious wage discrimination.

For more women to join the workforce, addressing the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and public places is very important. The High Court's directive of 2009 to form sexual harassment complaint committees at every workplace and institution must be followed by all. And the existing gender pay gap needs to be eliminated as well. Besides, social barriers to freely pursue a profession are major impediments for women's economic empowerment. All these factors should be addressed properly for higher participation of women in the workforce.

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